Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Stashdown #9: August and September

Well. Tumbleweed is blowing across this blog, that's for sure. I'm wondering if maybe my blogging has run its course. Perhaps it has...

It would be nice to finish up the year though, so I will make an effort and write a stashdown report.

August - no yarn in, no yarn out. There, that was nice and easy! I was taking a crafting break, working my socks off at work, apart from a lovely week ds and I spent in Northumberland.

September - mostly in the wrong direction, as I stashed up for my Fall knitting plans. 2291 yards of yarn in, to make a sweater, a shawl, and contribute to developments on my bed of roses blanket.

I did knit a few things, but not much was actually finished, so it's a bit discouraging to look at the figures:

Yarn in 2291
Yarn out in FOs 254
YTD +1612.

Sunday, 2 August 2015


I have a hankering for a bed of roses blanket. Four years ago, I made a couple of squares for it. And last month, I made another two:

So, now I have four in total!

There is a way to go to get to a finished blanket, and it will involve buying more yarn. The yarn I used for these four is discontinued, so if anyone knows a 100% cotton yarn, approx aran weight with 80 metres per 50g, perhaps you could let me know via the comments box.  I would want to use lots of different colours in my eventual blanket, so colour matching is not so important.

I also made this little goldfish, just for fun!

If I didn't work in a hot-desk environment, where we are not allowed personal items on desks, I would totally have it in my office.

I would like to be better at crochet. Maybe I shall put that as an objective for next year. I can't add it to this year. Not only is it Wrong to set objectives mid year (haha. Rules for living much??), I also have too many knitting plans for the Autumn term.

Stashdown #7: July 2015

My yarn stash continued to reduce in July, and I'm now back in negative numbers again. Although to be honest, it's not as good as I hoped. I had planned to finish another pair of socks, but I haven't finished the first sock yet:

Well, I didn't buy any yarn. I finished 3 projects during July.

492 yards on a colourwork bag
60 yards on two blanket squares
20 yards on a crochet goldfish

Year to date:
CF from last month +147
 +0 in
- 572 out
YTD -425.

Friday, 31 July 2015


I've recently been developing my embellishing skills, by completing some knitted projects that incorporated finishing steps of embroidery.

These mittens included little embroidered flowers. They were very hard to get right, or at least, to get them to look the same on both mittens:

Here they are complete. The little flowers really add to the mittens, I think.

This knitted bag required over 200 French knots, over 100 cross stitches and some duplicate stitches too.

Here's the finished bag:

I really like it! I want to make another, only in green this time.

Do you like to tackle projects that help you learn new skills? Feel free to share in the comments box.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015


I recently acquired this lovely cantilever sewing box.

When I opened it, it was full of sewing supplies. My grandma used to work in textiles, and when I was a little girl, she used to make some of my clothes. 

There were a lot of cotton reels. I shan't have to buy any black, grey or navy thread for a while.

The tobacco tins were probably empties belonging to my grandad. He died nearly thirteen years ago. Now they are full of buttons. My grandma never throws a spare button away! 

I also brought home a lovely picture of my grandad in his workplace to cherish. 

In the sewing box, I also found the old-fashioned steel hooks for crochet pictured above. I must search the internet, as I'm pretty sure the sizes are not given in mm.

I have these because my grandma's house has to be emptied. She is moving into residential care. At 95, she's not done too badly. I am holding on to the memories I have of crafting with her as a little girl. They were such happy days! 

Friday, 10 July 2015

Knitting in the Summer

Trying to knit on my socks...

But, having limited time to knit owing to workload and family commitments. Hmmm.

At least I got a cup of tea!

Friday, 3 July 2015


I had fun with my innocent minihats last month. I already posted about the ice-cream themed ones, but as well as those, I made another which was an experiment: I miniaturised a colourwork hat I made previously.

Here's the original hat (photo was taken on my phone):

The hat was a pattern from the Lucinda Guy book Northern Knits. I am very fond of her patterns, and it's where the Marta bag that is currently on my needles comes from. If I was making that hat again though, I'd go up a needle size. It is a little snug, so I'm planning to offer it to my niece, but I digress...

Here's the mini version as an innocent minihat, just for fun.

I used the same yarn. The full size hat is in the pic for scale.

If you're a new reader and you don't know about the minihats, there is information here.

Stashdown#6 June 2015

My yarn stash is going down again. Although I'm not back in negative numbers yet, I made fair progress in June. And I did not buy any yarn.

I finished six projects during June: three innocent minihats, a pair of socks, a tea cosy, and a pair of mittens. Yarn out looks like this:

53 yards assorted dk on minihats
97 yards 4ply on tea cosy
232 yards 4ply on mittens
285 yards Artesano sock yarn on socks
Total out 671 yards

Year to date:
CF from last month +818
+0 in
-671 out
Net YTD +147.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Fancy a cuppa?

I have made the pattern affectionately known as the Sheepot!

Oooh, I love a tea cosy. I usually make them with the intention of giving them away, but when I've finished them, I like them so much, I want to keep them.

This one is a spectacular learning opportunity. The sheep are knitted in the round in stranded colourwork and the spout and handle opening are then steeked (cut open!).

I was a little anxious about taking scissors to my knitting, but following Kate Davies's excellent instructions for crochet reinforcements means I will have no qualms at all about doing this in future. It's easy, in fact!

The pattern also had corrugated rib, provisional cast on, vikkel braid and icord bind off. Advanced techniques in a tea cosy. It's a lovely knit, and so if you feel like making it, you can find the pattern on Ravelry. You have to pay for it, but I assure you, it's worth it!

I used about 97 yards of 4-ply, in case you're wondering about the yarn requirements.

More tea, vicar?

Friday, 26 June 2015

Summertime knitting

Ever feel like your completed projects are really complementary to the season?

That plate I used for background to these little knitted toys belonged to my granny. Bridlington was a favourite place of hers. I'd love to take the little bunnies on holiday there myself. 

This picture was spotted on Rav by the editor of the magazine from which I used the pattern, and was featured in their magazine. So if it looks familiar, perhaps you saw it in Knit Now?

I'm also back on the minihats! Here's two I made in early June:

The ice cream minihat is a free pattern, although I have to say, sewing that icord in place (for the whippy ice cream effect) is quite fiddly.

Gratuitous photo of ice cream being eaten at the seaside! This was at Boscastle in Cornwall in April.

Wish I was back there! I'm having to work extremely hard at present, hence the lack of regular blogging service.

Stashdown #5: May 2015

Like Alice's rabbit, I'm late! Here's a quick summary for May stashdown.

During May, I knitted a hat for dh, using up most of my first skein of holiday yarn I bought in Cornwall, and made a couple of little toys out of Rico cotton in my stash.

I also bought two balls of KP Palette, again for my OWL plans for Spring term.

Yarn in

Yarn out:
176 yards on hat
53 yards on toys
Total out 229

Year to date:
CF from last month +585
+462 in
-229 out
Net YTD +818.

I need to get that down by 1500 yards approx to meet my year target, and I'm nearly half way through the year. Must knit more...

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Stashdown #3: April 2015

I was away in Cornwall on holiday in April and I went to the yarn shop there, in search of souvenirs. So yarn came into my stash! And, I also bought yarn for my next term big project. I imported it from Sweden. So yet more yarn came into my stash. Oh dear.

Yarn in:

1017 yards Ullcentrum 2-ply wool (for making a Marta colourwork bag next term
220 yards Alpaca aran yarn, hand reared and spun in Cornwall
445 yards Alegria sock yarn just because I liked the colours

Total in: 1682 yards

Yarn out: 129 yards. I finished my colourwork hat I started in February, and wore it on a windy day in Cornwall. But most of the time, we had great weather and I did not need a hat!

Month end update:
CF from last month: -968
Yarn in +1682
Yard out -129
YTD new total: +585

Let me make a start on getting that back down again! I cast on for a hat in the grey alpaca already!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Stashdown #2: February and March 2015

Oof. I have been too busy to post in my blog. That's sad. But in February and in March, I did not buy any yarn.

Yardage out in February:

391 yards - Hogwarts express shawl
90 yards - soft lace edged hat
Total out: -481

Yardage out in March:

994 yards - Lazy Sunday jumper
17 yards - a pair of minisocks
Total out: -1011

What a lot of yarn out. Most of it in this sweater:

Brought forward from end Jan +524
Yarn in 0
Yarn out -1492
New total -968

I shall need to buy yarn for next term's big project, so this is about to go up in April, but still, I'm doing well to have got the totals down so much for the year already. And if I continue to work from stash for everything except a single large project, there will be further reductions, I hope.

Thursday, 19 February 2015


Oddly productive month, so far.

#1 Hogwarts express shawl - done to timeframe. Although it has to be said, I hate this shawl now I have finished it. I went right off the yarn during the knitting.

#2 Soft lace edged hat - gift for friend starting chemotherapy. I'd rather not have made this one, really :( Hope she will be OK. I knitted it in the softest cashmere yarn I had in stash.

Feeling a little sombre today, dear readers. I've also been ill, in the last week, and the virus has left me feeling a little weak and tired. Looking forward to the weather perking up for Spring. Hopefully soon. The snowdrops are out in my garden, and daffodils are getting ready to bloom, so hopefully not much longer.

Friday, 6 February 2015

On the needles

I seem to have a case of startitis.

#1 (cast on 1 Feb)

#2 (also on 1 Feb)

#3 (cast on 2 Feb, and with a deadline of 15th. I must be insane!)

Could this mean the return of my knitting mojo?? Also, it mustn't mean the demise of my sweater! I am keeping a careful eye on this.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Stashdown #1: January 2015

Another year, another stashdown! My target is to be at -716 at year end, to offset last year's growth.

In January I bought yarn to make a sweater. Yardage in 1030 yards. Lovely yarn!

It is rooster almerino aran and I'm already in the middle of the third ball, so making good progress.

All my other knitting in January was from stash.

I made a pair of baby hats for charity out of cotton yarn. 90 yards out.

I also made a lace ribbon scarf to wear to work. 416 yards out.

For this second one, I was using up yarn I bought for my ill-fated colour affection last term. 

I also made a tiny polar bear toy, but that one doesn't count for stashdown, as it was a free yarn kit with a magazine. 

So, end of January update as follows:
Yardage in 1030
Yardage out 506
YTD +524.

Hopefully I can get that at least to zero next month. I have no need to buy any yarn, honestly, so it should be all yardage out. Fingers crossed! 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Winter birthday

Another year older. I have finally found someone to make me a birthday cake, after my previous favoured baker moved away six years ago. This one is chocolate layer cake with salted caramel filling.

My son gave me these:

Such a thoughtful boy. The little owl is a brooch made of broken tiles in a mosaic. Really lovely.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Cold Start

How I hate the beginning of January. Every year, the days are so short and gloomy, the weather is cold. This year, dd also has looming exams and on Monday, absolutely no-one wanted to go to either school or work. But lo! I have finished a whole working week! Today is mostly about housework, laundry and a little bit of knitting.

I accepted a quidditch challenge this week which means I have been knitting for charity. Two little baby caps due to be sent to Loving Hands, a UK charity which accepts a range of crafted items and distributes them to a selection of charities, both here in the UK and internationally. I'm using up stash yarn to make these, so all good.

I've also cast on and been working on another lace ribbon scarf. I made one of these last year, and I like it so much, I'm making another in plain black stash yarn. I think it will be eminently wearable in the office on cold days, as I have actually worn the other one also, only being blue, it clashes terribly with some of my clothes. Black seems like a universally useful colour.

Onwards on the stashdown! Tomorrow, I will go to knitting group and discuss with other knitters on swatching and measuring stitch counts, before I properly start my jumper. I'm still conflicted on which size to knit!